By Sports Reporter
ZANACO Football Club are a point away from lifting the 2016 FAZ/MTN league from the remaining games after beating Napsa Stars in a game played at the Sunset stadium yesterday.
The game began on a quick note with Napsa taking charge of the early exchanges.
Zanaco however picked up the momentum though their organisation was curtailed by solid defending by the visitors.
Both teams had a fair share of chances earlier on but it was Napsa who settled quickly and kept on pouncing on loose balls from Zanaco although goals were not forthcoming.
Zanaco became more aggressive as the clock ticked away and would have found the back of the net with 27 minutes played through Aubrey Funga who benefited from prolific midfielder Isaac Chansa who got the better of the two defenders by skipping to challenges and then laying the ball to Funga who beat his marker and released a grass-cutter, forcing Rabson Mucheleng’anga into a full stretch.
After Funga’s attempt, Zanaco seemed rejuvenated and Roderick Kabwe’s surging in-swinger targeted for the right corner three minutes later forced Mucheleng’anga into another smart save to parry the ball for a corner.
Fackson Kapumbu also tried his luck two minutes after the half-hour mark with a dinking free-kick a few metres away from the 18-metre box after Collins Sikombe hacked Charles Zulu but his attempt fizzled away from target.
The tackle forced Zulu out of the game and earned Sikombe a yellow card.
Napsa immediately scored after Kapumbu’s scare as Sikombe sprinted on the left wing, got the better of George Chilufya before a neat inter-change of passes with Enock Mwepu which saw Mwepu release a shot that gave Racha Kola no chance to silence Zanaco fans.
Sensing danger, Zanaco coach Mumamba Numba substituted Saith Sakala for Attram Kwame but the teams went into the break with scores at 1-0.
Zanaco came from the break more purposefully with Chansa marshalling and initiating the bankers’ attacks.
Funga was in pole position to register his name on the scoreboard with 54 minutes played but was brought down right at the edge of the penalty box with the resultant free-kick going wayward.
Napsa then launched a counter attack three minutes later with Mwepu looking for a brace as he buccaneered through Zanaco defenders and his shot was saved by Kola. Zanaco immediately equalised through Kwame after a beautifully taken free kick with 58 minutes played.
A schoolboy mistake by Kola would have gifted the Pensioners a lifeline in the game when Chitiya Mususu lofted the ball to the left after seeing Kola off-guard and the Zanaco goal-minder fumbled, and the ball missed the target by a whisker.
Zanaco’s winner came 10 minutes to full-time when a swift move started by Chansa found Funga on the left who switched play to Kabwe on the far right.
Kabwe then lofted the ball into the area, forcing Alex Mwamba to head into his own net after being put under pressure by Kwame.
Meanwhile, league defending champions Zesco United beat Kabwe Warriors 2-0, thanks to an Idriss Mbombo brace.